The HOF 2010 ceremony in review
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Aug 07, 2010
The Class of 2010 is finally in the Hall of Fame, complete with seven shiny new bronze busts placed in Canton. It's been dubbed by some the greatest HOF class in history. It's not ... but hey, reporters need something to peddle here in the dog days of August.
Regardless, it is a great class just the same, highlighted by the NFL's all-time leading rusher and receiver. The ceremony itself Saturday night was another emotion-filled affair, as they so often are. It was also a ceremony that provided some compelling insights into American culture ... but we've discussed that in the past. Maybe we'll try to touch on it later this week.
In any case, if you missed it, here is the overview of the ceremony, with links to each player's new Pro Football Hall of Fame page and the text of their enshrinement speeches.
Great stuff. If we had emotions, we would have loved hearing the personal insights into these Hall of Fame lives.
Russ Grimm (Washington, 1981-1991)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: All-Pro four straight years (1983-86), member of the legendary "Hogs" and powerful blocker on 1983 Redskins offense that set an NFL record with 541 points scored.
HOF presenter: former Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel
Steve Sabol comments: "Russ Grimm was chosen to the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1980s. He anchored the offensive line for 11 seasons with the Washington Redskins and helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances and three world titles."
Money quote: "I played quarterback and linebacker in high school, I went to the University of Pitt as a linebacker. After my sophomore year, Jackie Sherrill called me into his office and told me that we had a lot of seniors graduating on the offensive line and he thought it would be an opportunity for me to switch over and play center. I told him I never had my hand in the dirt, that I'd just stay at linebacker. He lifted his eyes up and looked at me and he said, 'son, I'm not asking.'
"So I moved over. I wasn't very happy about it. But I had a great offensive line coach named Joe Moore. He knew I wasn't happy. I didn't like the transition. But he called me in one day, sat me down, talked about it, told me that I was a football player and I should play whatever position that they thought I was best capable of playing. He told me that playing offensive line, there's no greater feeling than to be able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will. I tried it; I liked it; and I was playing offensive line (smiling)."
Rickey Jackson (New Orleans, 1981-93; San Francisco, 1994-95)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: Defensive leader on first Saints team to post a winning record; franchise's first four playoff teams; and only Saints teams to lead the NFL in scoring defense (1991, 1992).
Hall of Fame presenter: Saints owner Tom Benson
Steve Sabol comments: "Equal parts athletic marvel and cerebral technician, Jackson earned four All-Pro selections, was named to six Pro Bowl teams, and retired with third most sacks in NFL history 128, and the second most fumble recoveries 28."
Jackson's money quote: "My coach started me playing football when I was six years old. I mean, I was in the sixth grade, Coach Rhodes. He's out there now. I started playing. I got to be 13. I realized I knew I was going to be a great football player. I always wanted to play football. What enticed me to really try to play football was you come to Pahokee, they have on the sign, Welcome to the home of Mel Tillis. He was a country singer. We had things around my hometown that you could do wrong if you choose to do wrong. I wanted my name on that sign. I tell you what, I wasn't going to do nothing to try to mess my career up to keep my name off of that sign."
Dick LeBeau (Detroit, 1959-72)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: Tied with Dave Brown for No. 8 on the all-time interception list (62).
HOF presenter: Brother Bob LeBeau
Steve Sabol comments: "In 14 years with the Detroit Lions, Dick LeBeau intercepted 62 passes,third all-time amongst NFL cornerbacks. He started 171 consecutive games, still the league record for a cornerback."
Money quote: "A few years ago we played in this game. Joey Porter and James Farrior, two of our great leaders, they got this idea they would put on Dick LeBeau jerseys and wear them all over. He's still out there, he ain't in there yet. Last year Rod Woodson stood up here in his induction speech and he mentioned me. Rod, I'll never be able to thank you for that. I thank all you guys for your PR because look where it got me, man. It worked."
Floyd Little (Denver, 1967-75)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Facts: Led the Broncos in rushing seven straight seasons (1967-73).
HOF presenter: Son Marc Little
Steve Sabol comments: "During his nine years with the Broncos, the Franchise amassed over 12,000 total yards and scored 54 touchdowns. During a six-season stretch, from 1968-1973, Little rushed for more yards than anyone in the league and was named to two AFL All-Star teams and three AFC-NFC Pro Bowls."
Little's money quote: "I remember being a strong but angry young man in school. I used my strength in ways that became my weakness. After being kicked out of school, I had reached an impasse in my life. Everything was done. My hopes were shattered and done. And then I had a vision from my late father that came to me and said, Floyd, I've chosen you to take my place, to do what I could not do, and to finish what I could not finish.
"I came to myself. With the help of those who saw the good in me, I was re-enrolled back in school with determination. Not only did I become the president of my class, but I started my journey as a leader in everything that I did, and I never looked back. Because of those that encouraged me in those early years, I am here today. So I want to encourage you, every student, every athlete, every person who will hear my voice, don't listen to the naysayer."
John Randle (Minnesota, 1990-2000; Seattle, 2001-03)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: Tied with Richard Dent for No. 6 on the all-time sack list (137.5)
HOF presenter: Current Colts and former Vikings assistant coach John Teerlinck
Steve Sabol comments: "Though his methods may not have been conventional, they were effective. During nine different seasons, Randle tallied at least ten sacks, earning himself seven trips to the Pro Bowl and six First-Team All-Pro selections."
Randle's money quote: "I also would like to thank my two big brothers Dennis and Ervin Randle. Thank you for letting me follow you around Mumford, Texas, when we were growing up. I'd also like to thank my mom, who is no longer here. She raised three boys by herself with very little money. Thank you, mom. I love you.
Jerry Rice (San Francisco, 1985-2000; Oakland, 2001-04; Seattle, 2004)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: All-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns.
HOF Presenter: Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Steve Sabol comments: "He was the son of a brick mason, who developed his craft catching bricks from his father in the harsh Mississippi sun. After shattering nearly every NCAA receiving record, Rice joined the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in the fall of 1985. History followed."
Money quote: "Despite the fear of knowing my mom and dad would whip me good, one day my sophomore year at B.L. Moor High School, I decided to play hooky with a friend. We got caught by the school principal, Mr. Ezell Wickes. He saw how fast I sprinted away from him and realized I could put my speed to better use. So after whacks with a leather strap, he forced me to meet with Charles Davis, our head football coach, who convinced me to come out for the team."
Emmitt Smith (Dallas, 1990-2002; Arizona, 2003-04)
Greatest Cold, Hard Football Fact: all-time leader in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns.
HOF presenter: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
Steve Sabol comments: "Emmitt Smith was an indispensable part of the Dallas Cowboys team that won three Super Bowl titles in four years. He is the NFL all-time leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. And in 1993, he became the only running back to ever win a Super Bowl, lead the league in rushing, be named league MVP and also be named Super Bowl MVP all in the same season."
Smith's money quote: "When I was six years old, I was watching the Dallas Cowboys on television with my father and some of our relatives. I clearly remember turning to my father and saying, One day I'm going to play professional football and I'm going to play for the Dallas Cowboys. My father turned to me and said, sure, that would be a good goal for you to have, son. But after that night, I began to dream about it. My father's words supported me. His words gave me the permission I needed to live in the dream. I began to feed the dream with my passion and dedication."
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